In Puerto Rico, a massive fire at the electricity substation of a new electricity provider named Luma Energy broke out power for hundreds of thousands of residents living in the Islands on June 10. Nearly around 800,000 customers suffered from power cuts as per Luma. Around 60,000 customers still remained in the dark by midnight. Luma Energy tweeted that the fire caused severe blackouts across the whole island while assessment is done on the situation and work is progressing to restore the system.
The fire and blackout are not only the crisis Luma is facing. Earlier the same day, the company said that its portal, as well as the mobile application, also fell victim to a cyberattack that disturbed customer access to the company’s online services. The distributed denial of service attack or DDoS attack generated over 2 million visits per second to the mobile app and client portal, thus impacting customer’s ability to get account information. The Company, Luma, further stated that it regrets the inconvenience customers have to face due to the attack, and the company is looking forward to providing them exceptional customer service experience again.
It is still very unclear that the DDoS attack and the fire are interconnected. Luma is a new company of just ten days and is in the role of the power authority of the island. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the earlier energy provider for the island, had notorious struggles with power outages, bankruptcy, mismanagement in Hurricane Maria’s wake in 2017. According to Associated Press, more than one million customers lost power in one month alone, without counting those who got affected by the substation fire. Officials had cautioned the resident to remain patient in the beginning days of transition as Luma Energy inherited frail electric infrastructure.
Governor of Puerto Rico Calls for an Investigation
At Luma Energy’s Monacillo Substation in San Juan, a fire broke out in a transformer, and the fire services, as well as police, rushed to the scene. There were no injuries reported. Governor Pedro Pierluisi, in a message shared on social media, said the incident was a massive explosion. Both state authorities and federal law enforcement authorities are doing their investigation. He further added that whoever was held responsible for the incident will have to answer the People living in Puerto Rico. FBI authorities of San Juan said that they were evaluating the matter and encouraged people who have information to come forward.